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Man jailed 6 months for forging payslips to increase his credit limit, buy S$31,000 worth of bitcoin

SINGAPORE — Eager to invest in bitcoin, Lin Mingzhong decided to forge two payslips and declare that he was earning more to increase his credit limit and get his hands on extra cash. 

Man jailed 6 months for forging payslips to increase his credit limit, buy S$31,000 worth of bitcoin
Lin Mingzhong used his credit card to buy S$31,472 worth of bitcoin on eToro.

SINGAPORE — Eager to invest in bitcoin, Lin Mingzhong decided to forge two payslips and declare that he was earning more to increase his credit limit and get his hands on extra cash. 

On Wednesday (Feb 9), the 48-year-old Singaporean was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to one count of forgery for the purpose of cheating.

He began dabbling in bitcoin on the online cryptocurrency trading platform eToro in early 2020, the court heard. He then thought of applying for credit cards with various banks to obtain funds to buy bitcoin.

As part of his application with Citibank, he had to declare his monthly salary and submit payslips to substantiate his claims.

He was earning a monthly salary of S$6,000 at the time with energy services company Singapore Green Engineers. Court documents did not state his job role.

Lin falsely declared that his monthly salary was S$8,100 by using a payslip that he previously received while working for Mediacorp in October 2019 as a template.

He then made two copies of the payslip and edited them to reflect that they had been issued by Singapore Green Engineers in January and February 2020.

On March 15, 2020, he logged onto Citibank’s online banking portal and submitted the application with the forged payslips.

Citibank then mailed him a credit card with a limit of S$32,400, four times his declared monthly salary. He immediately used it to buy S$31,472 worth of bitcoin on eToro.

Citibank cancelled the card in June 2020 after he failed to pay his bills. 

Lin’s offences then came to light in early August that year, after the bank’s country fraud risk management branch investigated his failure to make payments towards his credit card debt.

Citibank made inquiries with Lin’s employer who revealed that his monthly salary was only S$6,000.

The court also heard that the bank suffered a loss of about S$9,600 — the outstanding balance on the card minus the S$24,000 credit limit that Citibank would have granted Lin if he had truthfully declared his income.

Lin has since declared bankruptcy because he was unable to repay various credit card debts incurred with banks, including Citibank.

Anyone convicted of forgery for the purpose of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Related topics

court crime Bitcoin citibank eToro cryptocurrency

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